It’s been a long season for the Kansas City Smoke. Widely expected to be the worst team in the league this year, they surprised by getting off to a decent start. However, they’ve swooned badly in the last few weeks, losing seven in a row and 12 out of their last 13. Losing often makes for an unhappy clubhouse, and the Smoke’s is no exception. The situation boiled over after a particularly tough loss this week, as two Kansas City players nearly came to blows after the game.
The showdown occurred after a brutal defeat in Quebec. The Smoke and Tigres were tied 3-3 after two periods, raising hopes that Kansas City might be able to steal a badly-needed victory over a quality opponent. Unfortunately, the Smoke collapsed in the third period, surrendering four goals and absorbing a 7-4 shellacking. The crowd at Centre Citadelle jeered the visitors off the ice.
After the game, the Kansas City locker room was silent at first. After a few minutes, though, RW Tyler Cloude turned on the Bluetooth speaker in his locker and began blasting some music. This irked veteran LW Tadeusz Adamczyk, who was on his way to the shower.
“Hey, turn that [stuff] off,” Adamczyk barked at Cloude. The young winger responded by turning the music up further. Adamczyk then grabbed a hockey stick and swatted Cloude’s speaker, knocking it to the floor. He smashed the speaker repeatedly until it shattered.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Deuce?” snapped Cloude.
“We just got our [butts] kicked, and you’re [screwing] around like we just won the Vandy,” Adamczyk shouted. “How about you [expletive] straighten up and act right, you stupid [expletive]?”
“How about you take that stick out of your [butt]?” Cloude responded.
At that point, Adamczyk slammed down his stick and lunged at Cloude. Teammates stepped in and separated them before any punches were thrown.
Adamczyk remained perturbed after the game. “There are a lot of young guys on this team, guys who need to learn how to take this game seriously,” he told reporters. “Tonight was a total embarrassment. After a game like that, everyone should be hanging their heads. Instead, we’ve got guys laughing it up and blaring music.
“All they care about is hitting the clubs at night, instead of focusing on the game. They treat this like it’s one big joke. They don’t play hard, but they party hard.”
Cloude seemed mystified by the dust-up. “Deuce and I have always gotten along,” he said. “We’ve been losing and that sucks. But I don’t think we have to throw a pretend funeral every night just to show everyone how hard we’re taking it. Besides, I did my part today. I scored a goal.”
Smoke coach Randy Bergner benched Adamczyk for Tuesday’s game against Washington, but said he wasn’t troubled by the incident. “It’s a long season, and tempers run hot sometimes,” Bergner said. “Guys rub on each other sometimes, especially when you’re losing. Adamczyk’s a good guy, but he’s pretty old school. Cloudy’s an easy-going guy, likes to have fun. It was probably inevitable something like this would happen.”
The coach saw a bright side to the incident. “At least the guys are still heated enough to fight each other,” Bergner noted. “It’s when they don’t care enough to get pissed at each other that you really have to worry.”